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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 9 Hansard (21 September) . . Page.. 3070..


MR SMYTH (continuing):

course, is the approval of the draft business plan. In April 2005, the shareholder announced that the shareholders had not approved the draft business plan, as the government had not yet decided the future direction of Rhodium business operations. That was in April 2005, and we have had to wait until this year to find the scoping study for the sale of Rhodium. Rhodium languished for 12 to 14 months because the shareholder did not accept responsibility for the things that he had to do. Paragraph 3.20 of the report states:

Audit considers that the uncertainty of Rhodium's future, and a lack of clear directions from the Shareholders, made it difficult for the Board to ... commit ...

That is a key finding. On page 32, paragraph 3.42 concludes:

However, the effectiveness of the application of these governance principles was constrained by the absence of formalised policies and procedures, and deficiencies in financial reporting. Further, the absence of clear directions by the ACT Government as Shareholders has created uncertainty and made it difficult for the Board to develop and implement any long-term strategic directions to drive Rhodium in achieving its business objectives.

You wanted the arguments, Chief Minister. The arguments are there. They are outlined quite clearly. On page 3 the Auditor-General says that you failed to give strategic direction. On page 4 she refers to considerable uncertainty. On page 8 she says that Rhodium had been facing uncertainty since its establishment on 1 January 2005 by you, Chief Minister. Chief minister, this is your fault.

In closing, I would like to farewell a member of my staff, Ms Alexis McDonald, who will be finishing with the Assembly tomorrow. I would like to thank Alexis for the way that she has looked after me and organised my office over the last two years.

Industrial relations

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (4.37): Last Wednesday I was fortunate enough to attend Greg Combet's address to the National Press Club. Greg focused on the inherent rights that workers should enjoy in a democratic society and his vision for the future.

The changes to the industrial relations laws are not reflective of a healthy democracy, as the WorkChoices legislation undermines basic democratic rights. Under the new IR laws, millions of Australian have no job security, are subject to lower rates of pay and the loss of overtime pay, penalty rates, annual leave loading and a number of other employment rights that should be enjoyed by workers in a healthy democracy.

Combet rightly pointed out that free and democratic societies "respect the right of working people to freely associate and organise in trade unions, and champion the right of workers to collectively bargain". Combet argued that the new IR laws place Australia behind world standards.

Australia's unemployment rate is much higher than in other countries with regulated IR systems. What Australia should be doing is spending more money on training the unemployed. Australia currently spends 0.04 per cent of its annual income to retrain the unemployed, compared with Denmark, which spends 0.54 per cent. In June this year, the


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